Historically Speaking



Happy Halloween season, Atascosa County! Well, it isn’t Halloween yet, but it’s the season to get ready for Halloween and all that fun stuff. In this family, the spooky stuff starts Oct. 1. With my wife being a baker, the creations around here are unpredictable. One thing comes to mind when October arrives—ghost stories.

In my position, people have approached me about the paranormal and I usually decline any involvement. I don’t believe that historical research should ever cross paths with the paranormal practices. Have I heard paranormal and ghost stories? Of course, we live in South Texas. Many a night have I had my socks scared off by family and friends with a scary tale of old. Most scary ghost stories are set in a time long gone, therefore they are easily intertwined with history. There’s always the man that buried his money and now a fire shows you the way. Or the women that practiced witchcraft, therefore, they were denied burial in a holy cemetery. The tales all vary as well. Some have variations from the last. That’s because they are passed down by word of mouth. Now, I have heard of exile from communities and churches because of a certain behavior or action. I’ve also heard of cemeteries not allowing people burial based on different criteria. Of course, this was long ago. Whatever the case may be when someone dies, they need somewhere to be buried and that place is a cemetery just like all of the others. There are a few in Atascosa County that are not associated with a church, but were used as a burial place for non-religious folks or folks that were estranged from a church. The word of mouth tale that has caught my attention is the burial grounds where three women practiced witchcraft, therefore, they were not allowed burial in the community cemetery. They were said to have been exiled completely from the community. Whether it is true or not, I suppose we will never know. It just rings sort of like the Salem Witch Trials. In hindsight, it turns out most of the Salem witches were labeled out of paranoia.

Exile from any group for any reason has such a bad reputation because of what we have learned about individuals that find themselves in that position. Sometimes throughout history, us humans can be our own worst enemy.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s column. Thank you for reading, until next time.

MARTIN GONZALES is the Atascosa County Commission Chairman. If you have history of Atascosa County you’d like to share, you may contact him at 830-480-2741.

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